Dylan Taylor - "The Un-Return"


Aubrey had last seen Sara at Steve Ellison’s graduation party grinding on Blake, still wearing her emerald green robe, long after the tassels had been moved to the college side, caps thrown, and St. Benedict’s diplomas spirited away by parents for framing.

“When did you get back? It’s been forever.”

“Get back?”

Sara was wearing a pleated skirt, white blouse, pearl earrings. Her haircut was fresh and short, instead of curling the haircut waved.

“I always imagined you would wind up in New York or L.A., somewhere with lucrative and diverse scholarships, those distinctive neighbourhoods.” Aubrey said.

“I always imagined you’d have three kids whose names all started with J, that have a predisposition to wet themselves in the ball pit of McDonalds, a J husband who likes the office more than home, which means more time to spend buying drinks for book club at your Georgian on Peach Bottom Road.”

“I do live on Peach Bottom! Three little ones too… Joshua does work so very hard. Girl, you’ve gotten so smart you’ve become a psychic.”

Aubrey hugged Sara, her left hand plucking at a wave. “No hairspray, jealous.” She walked to her Acura and drove north. Sara walked south and kept walking. Lots became smaller. Around Occidental Road potholes started to appear. Sara’s walk changed. She forgot to be aware of her hips. Forgot to correct. Her shoulders relaxed, turned back yet paradoxically her pace quickened. Trees gave way to leashed dogs. Two car garages got divorced, then lost their walls. Picket turned to chain-link or hedge. Some porches glowed with cherries drawing deep orange trails upon the encroaching dark. Voices carried onto Sara but you would not have guessed she heard them, even as the deep baritone cut and lifted across the grainy purple dusk.

“You lost? This ain’t you’re spot but I bet if you stop a while you’ll get a taste for the views.”

Sara passed the powerline where she threw her Chucks the day she found out St. Benedict’s had approved her scholarship. Last week she past a boy trying to get his beat-up Nikes to kiss and curl around the wire. They would not spin. Before she turned onto FDR she looked at the boy, he was beating the living shit out of the curb, vulcanized rubber flying out like shrapnel.

Sara unlocked her house. It had been bought by her grandfather at a time when a mortgage was just another mouth to feed. The walls had quieted since then. “I’m home” Sara shouted, that thirty-year habit. Sara put her resumes on the counter. Sara had a seat at the table. Sara stared at herself in the window’s reflection.

Her old dreadlocks were sitting in tight knots on top of the trash along with her Manager nametag, the M looping arches.

Exile of perception.

Imposed perception.

From Without?

From Within?

Sara sat and stared, hoping to recognize the immutable.

Sara stared.

Sara stilled.

Sara stayed.


Dylan is Dad who sneaks off in the small hours to write. Dylan is a writer who spends his afternoons as a dinosaur. He has work published in decomP, Entropy Magazine, The Airgonaut, Maudlin House, Literary Orphans & WhiskeyPaper. His book 101 Adages for the Millennial is available through Maudlin House. Find him on Twitter: @MacTaylor89